Specifications that use this resource:

Summary of changes: spec A

Our new GCSE Geography specification has been designed to appeal to all students and to encourage them to engage with the world around them. The specification is based upon the Department for Education GCSE Geography subject content. The qualification is designed to be more challenging, with a greater emphasis on applying mathematical and statistical skills in a geography context.

This document highlights the changes in content from the existing GCSE Geography A.

Learning

The subject content, as set out by the Department for Education, has a greater emphasis on study of the geography of the UK. The required content was presented in four distinctive areas

  • Place: processes and relationships
  • Physical geography: processes and change
  • People and environment: processes and interactions
  • Human geography: processes and change

In order to make the transition from GCSE A to the new specification as transparent as possible the following table highlights the new content, content you currently teach and any existing content that is no longer required to be taught.

Unit 1: Physical geography

The restless Earth

Now found in 3.1 Living with the physical environment

What’s new

What’s gone

What’s the same and where to find in the new specification

What’s changed

  • General understanding of the natural hazard risk
  • Plate tectonics theory
  • Named examples to show how the effects of and responses to a tectonic hazard very between countries of contrasting levels of wealth
  • Reasons why people continue to live in areas at risk from tectonic hazards
  • How management can reduce the effects of tectonic hazards
  • Location and formation of fold mountains
  • Case study of one range of fold mountains
  • Case study of a volcanic eruption
  • The characteristics of a supervolcano and the likely effects of an eruption
  • Case study of an earthquake in a rich part of the world and one from a poorer area
  • Case study of a tsunami − its causes, effects and responses

3.1.1.2 Tectonic hazards

  • Global distribution of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and their relationship to plate boundaries
  • The physical processes taking place at different plate margins (constructive, destructive and conservative) that leads to earthquakes and volcanic activity
  • Existing case studies of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions can be used for the examples to show how the effects of and responses to tectonic hazard vary between countries of contrasting levels of wealth
  • How monitoring, prediction protection and planning can reduce the risks from a tectonic hazard
  • Volcanoes and earthquakes are now part of The challenge of natural hazards section
  • The case study element is now much reduced and requires study of the variations in the effects of and responses to a named tectonic hazard in two countries of contrasting levels of wealth rather than being focused on specific volcanic eruptions or earthquake events

Rocks, resources and scenery

Now found in 3.1 Living with the physical environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

This section has been replaced by Physical landscapes in the UK which focuses on coastal, river and glacial landscapes rather than landscapes based on a specific rock types
  • Geological time scale
  • Rock cycle and links to the formation of the three major rock types
  • The detailed study of granite, chalk, clay and carboniferous limestone landscapes and associated features
  • Case study of a quarry
 
  • Reference could be made to the location of granite, chalk, clay and carboniferous limestone in studying the new overview of The physical landscape of the UK section
  • The only specific content that remains from this section is the study of weathering processes which is now covered in the new coastal landscapes section

Challenge of weather and climate

Now found in 3.1 Living with the physical environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

  • General atmospheric circulation model: pressure belts and surface winds
  • Global distribution of tropical storms
  • The relationship between tropical storms and general atmospheric circulation
  • How climate change might affect the distribution, frequency and intensity of tropical storms
  • Identification of weather hazards affecting the UK
  • An example of a recent extreme weather event in the UK
  • Evidence for climate change from the beginning of the Quaternary period to present day
  • Managing climate change
  • The characteristics of the UK climate
  • Reasons for the climate and variations within the UK
  • Sequence of weather associated with depressions and anticyclones
  • World and UK temperatures for the last 100 and 1,000 years
  • Economic and political consequences of climate change for the work and UK
  • Case study of a tropical storm in a rich part of the world and one from a poorer area

3.1.1.3 Weather hazards

Tropical storms

  • Causes, and sequenceof events leading to formation, of tropical storms
  • The structure and features of a tropical storm
  • A named example of a tropical storm
  • How monitoring, prediction, protection and planning can reduce the effects of tropical storms

Extreme weather in the UK

  • An example of a recent extreme weather event in the UK
  • Evidence that weather is becoming more extreme

3.1.1.4 Climate change

  • Evidence for climate change
  • Possible causes of climate change
  • Overview of the effects of climate change on people and environment
  • Managing the impacts of climate
Weather hazards in UK and climate change are now part of The challenge of natural hazards section

Living world

Now found in 3.1 Living with the physical environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

  • The concept of interrelationships within a natural system
  • Issues related to biodiversity
  • The interdependence of climate, water, soils, plants, animals and people (tropical rainforests/hot deserts)
  • Value of tropical rainforests to people and the environment
  • Causes of, and strategies to reduce risk of, desertification
  • Cold environments (polar and tundra)
  • The global distribution of three ecosystems − temperate deciduous forest, tropical rainforest and hot deserts
  • Temperate deciduous woodland

3.1.2.1 Ecosystems

  • An example of a small scale UK ecosystem
  • The balance between components; the impact on the ecosystem of changing one component

3.1.2.2 Tropical rainforests

  • Characteristics of a tropical rainforest
  • How plants and animals adapt to the physical conditions
  • A case study of a tropical rainforest − causes of deforestation and impacts
  • Strategies used to manage the rainforest sustainably

3.1.2.3 Hot deserts

  • Characteristics of a hot desert
  • How plants and animals adapts to the physical conditions
  • A case study of a hot desert – opportunities for economic development
The title of the section remains The living world but students are required to study two large scale natural global ecosystems – tropical rainforests and either hot deserts or cold environments

Water on the land

Now found in 3.1 Living with the physical environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

  • The addition of interlocking spurs to characteristics and formation of landforms resulting from erosion
  • The addition of estuaries to characteristics and formation of landforms resulting from deposition
  • An example of a river valley in the UK to identify its major landforms of erosion and deposition
  • The use of hydrographs to show the relationship between precipitation and discharge
  • The addition of embankments and flood relief channels to hard engineering strategies
  • Example of a flood management scheme in the UK
  • Global pattern of water surplus and deficit
  • Reasons for increasing water consumption
  • Factors affecting availability
  • Impacts of water insecurity
  • Example of large scale water transfer scheme
  • Example of scheme in LIC or NEE to increase sustainable supplies of water
  • The factors affecting discharge
  • The frequency and location of flood events − in the UK in the last 20 years
  • Case study of flooding in a rich part of the world and one from a poorer area
  • The removal of 'do nothing' approach in soft engineering
  • Management of rivers to provide water supply
  • Case study of dam/reservoir

3.1.3.3 River landscapes in the UK

  • The long profile and changing cross profile of a river and its valley
  • Fluvial processes
  • Characteristics and formation of landforms resulting from erosion
  • Characteristics and formation of landforms resulting from erosion and deposition
  • Characteristics and formation of landforms resulting from deposition
  • How physical and human factors increase the flood risk
  • Hard and soft engineering management strategies
  • A case study of a flood management scheme
  • Reference is made to the increasing demand for water in the UK; areas of deficit and surplus; the need for transfer in the first part of The challenge of resource management section in unit 2
  • River landscapes are now included in The physical landscapes in the UK section along with coastal and glacial landscapes. Students are required to study two of these three distinctive physical landscapes
  

3.2.3.1 Resource management

Water: The changing demand for water. Matching supply and demand − areas of deficit and surplus. The need for transfer to maintain supplies

3.2.3.3 Water

Strategies to increase water supply − dams and reservoirs and water transfer

Ice on the land

Now found in 3.1 Living with the physical environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

  • Maximum extent of ice cover across the UK during last ice age
  • The addition of erratics to characteristics and formation of landforms resulting from transportation and deposition
  • An example of a glaciated area in the UK to identify its major landforms of erosion and deposition
  • Economic activities in glaciated areas in the UK
  • Land use conflict
  • Example of of a glaciated upland area in the UK used for tourism
  • Variations over time in the amount and extent of ice cover on a global and continental level.
  • Glacial budget
  • Case study of a glacier
  • Case study of an Alpine area for winter sports and an area for sightseeing of glaciers
  • The impact of retreat and unreliable snowfall in some tourist resorts

3.1.3.4 Glacial landscapes in the UK

  • Glacial processes
  • Characteristics and formation of landforms resulting from erosion
  • Characteristics and formation of landforms resulting from transportation and deposition
  • Economic activities in glaciated areas − quarrying and tourism

3.1.2.4 Cold environments (polar and tundra)

  • Development opportunities relating to tourism in a cold environment (Spec A − tourism in an extreme environment − Antarctica )
  • The concept of a fragile environment
Glacial landscapes are now included in The physical landscapes in the UK section along with coastal and river landscapes. Students are required to study two of these three distinctive physical landscapes

The coastal zone

Now found in 3.1 Living with the physical environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

  • The addition of rock falls to mass movement
  • How geological structure and rock type influence costal forms
  • The addition of sand dunes to landforms resulting from deposition
  • An example of a section of coastline in the UK to identify its major landforms of erosion and deposition
  • The addition of gabions to hard engineering strategies
  • The addition of beach reprofiling to soft engineering strategies
  • Specific requirements to cover coastal realignment under managed retreat
  • Example of a coastal management scheme with an emphasis on management, strategy used and resulting effects and conflicts rather than as previously simply costs and benefits
  • Traction, saltation, suspension and solution removed from transportation process
  • Reasons for rising sea levels
  • Case study to illustrate the impact of coastal flooding
  • Case study of an area of recent or threatened cliff collapse
  • Marsh creation removed from soft engineering strategies
  • A case of a coastal habitat

3.1.3.2 Coastal landscapes in the UK

  • Wave types and characteristics
  • Coastal processes
  • Characteristics and formation of landforms resulting from erosion
  • Characteristics and formation of landforms resulting from deposition
  • Hard and soft engineering management strategies
  • A case study (now an example) of a coastal management scheme
Coastal landscapes are now included in The physical landscapes in the UK section along with glacial and river landscapes. Students are required to study two of these three distinctive physical landscapes

Population change

Now found in 3.2 Challenges in the human environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

The new specification makes little reference to population change
  • Global population increase and changing population structures of different countries
  • Impact of increasing urbanisation
  • Strategies used by countries to control rapid population growth
  • Impacts of an ageing population on the future development of a country
  • Impacts of population movements on source and receiving countries

3.2.1 Section A: Urban issues and challenges

The impact of increasing urbanisation
Link between states of the Demographic Transition Model stages level of development is now in Changing economic work section

Unit 2: Human geography

Changing urban environments

Now found in 3.2 Challenges in the human environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

  • The global pattern of urban change
  • Factors affecting the rate of urbanisation and the emergence of mega-cities
  • Case study of a major city in a lower income country (LIC) or one in a newly emerging economy (NEE) to illustrate the location and importance of the city; the causes of growth; opportunities and challenges
  • An example of how urban planning is improving the quality of life for the urban poor
  • Overview of the distribution of population and the major cities in the UK
  • Case study of a major city in the UK to illustrate the location and importance of the city; the impacts of migration both national and international; opportunities and challenges
  • An example of an urban regeneration project
  • Features of sustainable urban living
  • How urban transport strategies are being used to reduce traffic congestion
  • Functions and land use zones of urban areas
  • Overview of issues facing urban areas
  • Characteristics of squatter settlements and the effects on the lives of people living in these areas
  • Case study of a squatter settlement redevelopment
  • Effects of rapid urbanisation and industrialisation
  • Management of environmental problems in poorer parts of the world
  • Characteristics of a sustainable city − environmental and social
  • Case study of sustainable urban living

3.2.1 Section A: Urban issues and challenges

  • Urban trends in different parts of the world
  • Factors affecting the rate of urbanisation
  • (There are a number of elements within the two case studies used in this section where existing spec A content can be applied)
  • A case study of a major city in an LIC or a NEE:
    • causes of growth: natural increase and migration
    • the growth of squatter settlements
    • waste, air and water pollution, traffic congestion
    • example of how urban planning is improving the quality of life for the urban poor
Much of the changing urban environments content is now delivered in The urban issues and challenges section through the use of case studies of two contrasting major cities
  
  • A case study of a major city in the UK:
    • impacts of national and international migration on the growth and character of the city
    • social and economic opportunities − cultural mix, integrated transport systems
    • environmental opportunities − urban greening
    • environmental challenges − building on brownfield sites, waste disposal and atmospheric pollution
  • Features of sustainable urban living − waste recycling, creating green space
  • An example of how urban transport strategies are being used to reduce traffic congestion in one urban area

Changing rural environments

Now found in 3.2 Challenges in the human environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

The new specification makes little reference to rural environmentsExcept from a few strands the majority of content from this section has been removed3.2.1 Section A: Urban issues and challenges

Impact of urban sprawl on the rural-urban fringe, and the growth of commuter settlements
  • Traces of changing rural environments content can be found in the case study of a UK major city in the changing economic world section - social and economic changes in the rural landscape in one area of population growth and one area of population decline
  • Impact of urban sprawl on the rural-urban fringe; rural depopulation
  • Reference to global food markets and the development of organic farming appear in The resource management section
  • Subsistence and commercial farming; the impacts and issues resulting from deforestation such as soil erosion are covered in Tropical rainforests

The development gap

Now found in 3.2 Challenges in the human environment

What’s new

What’s gone

What’s the same and where to find in the new specification

What’s changed

  • Limitations of economic and social measures
  • Consequences of uneven development
  • Overview of strategies used to reduce the development gap
  • An example of how managing population change in one country helps to reduce the development gap
  • An example of how the growth of tourism in a LIC or NEE helps to reduce the development gap
  • Case study of one LIC or NEE to illustrate how rapid economic development leads to significant social and cultural change
  • How changes in the economy of the UK have affected employment patterns and regional growth
  • Correlation between different measures
  • Limitations/ways of using a single development measure
  • The relationship between quality of life and standard of living
  • Different perceptions of acceptable quality of life
  • Attempts made to improve quality of life
  • Physical and human factors that exacerbate global inequalities
  • The imbalance in the pattern of world trade and attempts to reduce it
  • The role of international aid donors in encouraging sustainable development
  • Case study of one development project
  • Conditions leading to different levels of development in two contrasting countries of the EU
  • Attempts by the EU to reduce these different levels of development

3.2.2 Section B: The changing economic world

  • Different ways of classifying parts of the world according to their level of economic development and quality of life
  • Different economic and social measures of development
  • Limitations of economic and social measures
  • Managing disparities in development and quality of life − aid, fairtrade, debt relief
  • The majority of content from this section has been replaced, revised or updated
  • The elements of content that do still exist such as fairtrade, debt relief and types of aid are now delivered through the use of a case study of one LIC or one NEE in The changing economic world section

Globalisation

Now found in 3.2 Challenges in the human environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

The new specification makes little reference to globalisationThe majority of content from this section has been replaced. The strands of content that do remain can be identified in other sections

3.2.2 Section B: The changing economic world

  • There are a bumber of elements within the case study used in this section where existing Spec A content can be applied
  • A case study of one LIC or NEE:
    • the role of transnational corporations (TNCs) − advantages and disadvantages
    • trading relationships with the wider world
    • international aid − types and impacts
    • environmental impacts of economic development
  • The advantages and disadvantages of TNCs and their role in relation to industrial development are now covered in The changing economic world section
  • China would qualify as an NEE so could be used as a case study to illustrate how rapid economic development leads to social and cultural change
  • The increasing global demand for energy and food are key elements of The resource management section
  • References to international directives on pollution and carbon reducing initiatives are covered in the climate change theme in The challenge of natural hazards section
  

3.2.3.1 Resource management

  • Food (UK): larger carbon footprints due to the increasing number of 'food miles' travelled and moves towards local sourcing of food
  • Energy (UK): the changing energy mix. Environmental issues associated with exploitation of energy sources

3.2.3.2 Food

  • Impacts of food insecurity
  • Strategies to increase food supply − appropriate technology and irrigation

3.2.3.4 Energy

Strategies to increase energy supply − renewable energy

Case study (now example) of a local renewable energy scheme

Tourism

Now found in 3.2 Challenges in the human environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

The new specification makes little reference to tourismThe majority of content from this section has been replaced. The strands of content that do remain can be identified in other sections 
  • Example of a glaciated upland area in the UK used for tourism found in The physical landscapes in the UK section provides an opportunity to study tourism in a UK National Park
  • An example of how the growth of tourism in an LIC or NEE helps to reduce the development gap found in the changing economic world section allows for the study of tourism in an established tropical tourist area
  • The study of tourism in an extreme environment is provided for in the ecosystems theme where reference is made to the development opportunities tourism provided in relation to Hot deserts and Cold environments
   
  • In the ecosystem theme one of the strategies covered in managing the rainforest sustainably is ecotourism

Unit 3: Local investigation including fieldwork and geographical issue investigation

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

  • Issue evaluation with DME (Decision making exercise)
  • Students need to undertake two geographical enquiries, each of which must include the use of primary data, collected as part of a fieldwork exercise. The two enquiries must be in contrasting environments and show an understanding of both physical and human geography. In at least one of the enquiries students are expected to show an understanding about the interaction between physical and human geography
Controlled assessment marked by the centre and externally moderated

3.3 Geographical applications

3.3.1 Section A: Issue evaluation

No equivalent in Spec A

3.3.2 Section B: Fieldwork

Students need to undertake two geographical enquiries, each of which must include the use of primary data, collected as part of a fieldwork exercise
Students' understanding of the enquiry process will be assessed in the written exam by setting questions, representing 15% of the total mark, on the use of fieldwork materials from unfamiliar contexts and questions based on the students' individual enquiry work

Specifications that use this resource: